NASAC Calls for Rapid Implementation of “U9”

12 November 2013

In line with its ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity of UAE airspace, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority held last week the 11th National Airspace Advisory Committee (NASAC) in the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation center. The meeting was headed by Mr. Ahmed Al Jallaf, Assistant Director General Air Navigation Services, and was attended by members of the Committee and representatives from local civil aviation authorities, airports, national carriers, air navigation service providers and the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology among other related entities. 

The meeting agenda addressed a number of important topics, most of which stem from the recommendations of the committee’s working groups and sub-committees. HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA said: "the committee reviewed the final report of the airspace study which was conducted by Airbus ProSky and resulted in 53 recommendations pertaining to the local airspace efficiency improvement.” He added that the rapid growth of air traffic movement in UAE, which reaches over 7% annually, necessitates adequate measures to establish a suitable environment and accommodate the ongoing expansions in terms of infrastructure and airline fleets. 

Ahmed Al Jallaf, Assistant Director General Air Navigation Services, said that the newly inaugurated Al Maktoum International Airport is a clear testimony of UAE expansion in air traffic and passengers’ movements as well as the recent plans of expansions in Abu Dhabi International Airport and Sharjah International Airport. He added that the recent opening of the Emirates Aviation Academy is another factor which requires further investments and collective efforts to cope with these ongoing expansions. 

It is noteworthy that GCAA teamed up with Airbus PoSky over the past year to conduct a comprehensive study of UAE airspace and propose restructuring plans. This project involved meetings with all airspace users, air navigation services providers and airports of the UAE as well as a thorough analysis of historical data to identify enhancements to the UAE airspace. The NASAC urged local and federal governments to take these recommendations in consideration and speed up the implementation phase to reach the optimal capacity of the local airspace. 

Al Suwaidi praised the efforts and fruitful cooperation with local aviation authorities and strategic partners which resulted in the success of the study. 

Al Jallaf pointed out that the NASAC recommended immediate implementation of the U9 program which aims to improve air traffic management (ATM) through suggested amendments for related regulations, infrastructure and technology. U9 program is designed to ensure safety and efficiency of air traffic management in UAE throughout the year 2030. He continued “2 additional working groups were established to coordinate the harmonisation of the implementation of the short term recommendations”. 

Among other topics discussed during the committee meeting were the recommendations of the working groups to update state’s plans for air traffic management, referred to as “UAE 2030”, and reconsider ATM procedures during low horizontal visibility, and a number of issues pertaining to regional aviation. The committee discussed as well the foreseen temporary closures of runways in Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports over the coming year and its impact on air traffic operations and contingency plans. 

In order to execute plans, a number of local entities were delegated to undertake the implementation of recommendations and initiatives and submit results to the committee during the next NASAC meeting. 

GCAA Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Center has been keen on advancing air traffic management technologies and enhances airspace efficiency through new projects such as “PRISMA 13” project which is expected to be completed over three phases within a 24-month period. 

Upon concluding agenda discussion, Ahmed Al Jallaf stressed the importance of such meeting which allows valuable exchange of expertise among stakeholders necessary for ANS improvement. He thanked the working group on airspace restructuring study and congratulated them on completing the first phase, adding that it is essential to deploy further collective efforts to achieve UAE GCAA objectives and support UAE ranking as a leading state in civil aviation on the international arena. 

UAE airspace is among the smallest and most important airspaces in the world due to the strategic location of the UAE being the link between East and West and the increasing air traffic movements due to prosper economic and touristic activities.

Middle East

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